[PlanetCCRMA] pdf annotation

Justin Haynes justin at justinhaynes.com
Sun Oct 9 17:51:14 PDT 2011

I have a use case I'd like to find some software to fit. In a nutshell, I'd
like to play from any of 1000s of pages of realbooks I have as pdfs stored
on my fedora 15 PlanetCCRMA laptop, which contain no text but only image
scans of the pages of the original books.  I want to be able to do the

   - Using my pen and touch bamboo tablet, mark up the music with rehearsal
   - Have those notes stored with the pdf so they can be opened elsewhere
   with the same notes.
      - Ideallly, these notes are stored in the pdf.
   - Be able to find notes easily,
   - Bookmarks are a nice feature as well to be able to find a song without
   having to relocate it.
   - Be able to print with the annotations in tact.

So far I have tried this with okular (annotations stored in
~/.kde/share/apps/okular/docdata as an xml file per pdf file).   Writing or
drawing symbols such as accent marks, phrase marks, crescendos writing is
cumbersome as whenever you pick up the pen from using the 'green ink' button
on the review toolbar, the button is no longer depressed and you must select
it again.

I've written enough to ask the question.  Read on for more information about
my setup to understand why this is useful to me.  Maybe it will be useful to
you as well.  Thanks in advance for any insight.



I have laptop on which I run Fedora + PlanetCCRMA.  (
Currently I'm not doing much recording, but I may again someday in the
future.  Also, the laptop does now run Fedora 15 and not 10 as it did

Soon, I'll be solving the problem of having to set up and breakdown the
simple recording equipment I have and my limited space problem, by mounting
a docking station for my Thinkpad on the back of a dresser with the rest of
my network equipement.  The docking station grips the laptop so that it can
be stored vertically and out of the way.  To take it with me, I just press
the button and pop it off leaving my recording equipement there ready when I
want it.

A 1900 x 1600 42" LCD TV will be hooked up to the docking station.   I have
been using this tv with the laptop already and sheet music is visible and
usable from a distance of 6-12 feet with 1-3 pages across depending on the
music.  This is perfect for comfortably playing and sharing the music with
others.    Its also big enough and thing enough that if I would like to
mount it in front of the upright piano, the piano player and anyone else can
see it.  Being able to mark up one master copy of music is nice for a small
group to work from one "score"

Having those pdfs be portable is nice as the file can be taken with people.
In the case of the okular pdfs, we can probably come up with a way to merge
annotations if many of us would like to mark up music and share this
markup.  Actually it is readable enough to do it by hand - (just concatenate
them and ensure that identifiers dont' overlap.  Then delete what you don't
want in okular)

Zooming and writing with one hand on a tablet which can be anywhere in the
room closeby is nice.

And of course printing this for people would be a plus as no one I know
rehearses this way.  (and they don't *have* to. If they want to play from
paper, that's fine too.)
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